Brooklyn Youth Fellows Rally in DC, Request Projects for 'Youth Voice Awards' Grant Program
This week we’ve seen a spotlight on youth activism around the country that has inspired both hope and action. Here in Brooklyn, youth activists are showing their commitment to justice by rallying for immigrant rights legislation and organizing to invest in local youth leadership.
Last December, our Brooklyn Youth Fellows, who oversee the Foundation's youth-led grantmaking program, traveled to Washington, D.C. to rally for the Clean Dream Act. Fellows joined members from our Immigrant Rights Fund grantees Atlas:DIY and the New York Immigration Coalition to show support for their undocumented friends, families, and neighbors.
“I think this work is important for healing and building with people,” said Youth Fellow Alex Davis as he rode with other fellows on a bus to the rally.
The Dream Act, which would allow over 2.1 million young adults and youth who came into the U.S. as children permanent residence as well as a faster pathway to citizenship, will be proposed next month as the Clean Dream Act. This means that it won’t use DACA-eligible immigrants as a way to pass legislation that would ultimately hurt immigrant communities, including legislation that allocates funding for a border wall and increased border security, funding for interior enforcement like targeted raid operations, funding for more detention centers, and cumbersome employment verification processes.
Youth participants in the rally chanted, sang, and held posters as they marched at the Capitol.
“I believe in fighting for my community,” said Abisola, who rode to the rally from Brooklyn.
In addition to immigration activism, the Brooklyn Youth Fellows are now requesting applications for their Youth Voice Awards grantmaking program. Youth ages 14-25 who have an idea for a program that will help young people deepen historical and cultural understanding of their experiences and community issues are eligible to apply for grants up to $2000. Winners will be announced in the spring.
Youth Voice Awards grantees deal with issues of LGBTQ justice, food and environmental justice, reproductive health and reproductive justice, education, race and gender justice, and economic and housing justice. Projects from 2017 included a 10-week summer program for young women focused on self-love and sisterhood, a 5-week political education program for immigrant and undocumented youth, and workshops and peer support groups for young people with incarcerated parents, among others.
We believe that youth are uniquely equipped to be central players in creating community change. We are so proud of the activism and leadership of our Youth Fellows and can’t wait to see the 2018 Youth Voice Awards projects come into fruition.